Nice is one of the most popular holiday destinations on the French Riviera. Nicknamed ‘Nissa La Bella’ – Nice the beautiful, in the local dialect – this Mediterranean seaside city benefits from an all-year-round warm and pleasant climate. From its relaxed yet stylish atmosphere to the many attractive sights it hosts, Nice should be on the bucket list of every traveller visiting the southeast coast of France.

    The best things to do in Nice listed below include historical neighbourhoods, beaches, museums and local food. Put on your sunglasses, apply a bit of sun cream and follow us for a stroll through the places and things Nice is famous for.

    What are the best things to do in Nice?


    Start the day at Promenade des Anglais

    Take a stroll along the 'Walkway of the English'

    • Families
    • Couples
    • Photo
    • Luxury

    ‘Walkway of the English’, it stretches for around 5 km along the Mediterranean coast between Nice Airport and Quai des États-Unis. Attracting strollers, joggers, cyclers, in-line skaters and skateboarders, this seaside walkway is lively and offers a great people-watching spot. The walkway is lined with palm trees, equipped with benches, and it features Vélo Bleu stations –self-service rental bikes. You’ll find a great choice of bars and restaurants right on the beach, too.

    Location: Between the airport and Quai des États-Unis, along the Bay of Angels, Nice, France


    Explore Nice Old Town

    Wander around Nice's historical centre

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    Nice Old Town – locally known as Vieux Nice – is located at the eastern end of the Bay of Angels, between Albert the 1st Garden and Castle Hill. Featuring narrow cobblestoned streets, red-roofed old-style houses, and notable places like the Nice Opéra and Lascaris Palace, the Old Town takes you back to the 18th century. The area is famous for its quaint restaurants and lively night spots. During your tour, don’t forget to stop by Fenocchio Glacier on 6 Rue de la Poissonnerie, to spoil yourself with a yummy ice cream – they’re considered the best in town.

    Location: At the eastern end of the Promenade de Anglais, Nice, France


    Snack at Cours Saleya Market

    Amble through the scents and colours of a lively market

    Cours Saleya Market is locally called Nice Flower Market, even though you find more fruits and vegetables than flowers. Located on Cours Saleya, right between the Old Town and the beach, it gives you the opportunity to sample fresh local products and meet local stallholders. A must-try at Cours Saleya Market is the Socca. This chickpea flatbread is a genuine local dish that you can find at Chez Thérésa, a stall established here since the 1920s.

    Location: At the eastern end of the Bay of Angels, in front of Nice Old Town, France

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 6 am to 5.30 pm, Sunday from 6.30 am to 1.30 pm (closed on Mondays)


    Get a tan at Marinières Beach in Villefranche-sur-Mer

    Laze on one of the most popular beaches on the French Riviera

    • Families
    • Budget
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    Located in Villefranche-sur-Mer, a 15-minute drive east of Nice, Marinières Beach (Plage des Marinières) is a very popular spot, especially from May to September. Unlike many beaches in the area, Marinières Beach is public and free to get on. The beaches in front of Nice are pebbly, but this is not the case with Marinières Beach. It’s not sandy, but features very tiny pebbles, making it the next best thing. Another good point with this beach is its good choice of nearby bars and restaurants. This can be handy if you didn’t bring your picnic.

    Location: Villefranche-sur-Mer, 3 km east of Nice, France


    Feast on Niçoise Salad, Socca and Pan Bagnat

    Sample Nice local specialities

    • Food

    Nice street food is so tasty and diverse that you could pretty much live on it during your whole time in this lovely seaside city. From the fresh and filling Niçoise Salad to the pan Bagnat (which is basically a Niçoise Salad inside a sandwich), and from the socca (chickpea flatbread) to the pissaladière (olives, onions and anchovies pie), your taste buds will certainly be satisfied by your stay in Nice. The best liquid to wash down all these Mediterranean delicacies is the local pale pink rosé wine.

    Location: all these dishes are readily available all around Nice; Niçoise Salad in restaurants, Pan Bagnat, socca and pissaladière in bakeries, although the most famous socca can be found Chez Thérésa, at Cours Saleya Market.


    Lunch at Oliviera Restaurant

    Sample local specialities in a convivial atmosphere

    Located in the north of Nice Old Town, Oliviera is a popular restaurant where you can sample genuine local dishes and produce. The restaurant is also a boutique that sells quality olive oils from the area. Each dish is paired with a specific oil: Aubergine Oliviera with Bouteillan oil, Tartare Méditerranée with an AOP Haute Provence, and so on. Due to its popularity and small size, reservations are all but mandatory.

    Location: Rue du Collet, in the north of Nice Old Town

    Open: Tuesday and Wednesday from 12 pm to 2 pm, Thursday–Saturday from 12 pm to 2 pm and from 7 pm to 8 pm, closed on Sundays and Mondays

    Phone: +33 (0)4 93 13 06 45


    Go hiking at Mont Boron Park

    Take in stunning views of the French Riviera

    • Families
    • Couples
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    Mont Boron Park features 11 km of hiking trail, a 1.5 km exercise circuit, picnic areas, pétanque pitches – in short, all you need for a grand day out. The highlight of Mont Boron Park is the 16th-century Fort du Mont Alban. It offers breathtaking vistas of the Port of Nice to the west, as well as Villefranche-sur-Mer and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula to the east. It takes roughly 45 minutes of hiking to get there from Nice Old Town, but you can also get to the park by bus.

    Location: Between the Port of Nice and Villefranche-sur-Mer, France


    photo by Pierre Bona (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Get inspired at Marc Chagall Museum

    Discover Chagall's work on biblical themes

    • History

    Marc Chagall Museum is not only the place that houses one of the world’s largest collections of the Russian-born artist works, but it’s also an unusually lively venue, for a museum. It hosts a quaint bar/restaurant in the garden, a hall in which you can attend live classical music concerts, and a movie theatre screening movies about the life of this multi-faceted artist. It’s located on Dr. Ménard Avenue, in the centre of Nice.

    Location: On Dr. Ménard Avenue, 1 km northeast of Nice train station, France

    Open: May–October. Wednesday–Monday from 10 am to 6 pm. November–April: Wednesday–Monday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

    Phone: +33 (0)4 93 53 87 20


    photo by Derbrauni (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Take in the view at Castle Hill Park

    Take a great photo of Nice and the Bay of Angels

    • Families
    • Couples
    • Photo

    Located just east of the Old Town, Castle Hill is the highest point in Nice. Getting to the top can be done on foot, by lift, or on the Little Tourist Train. At the top, you’ll find the ruins of Nice Castle, a large artificial waterfall, a historical cemetery, and a bar/restaurant. Castle Hill offers the best panoramic view of the city and the Bay of Angels to the west, and of the port to the east. The park is a pleasant place to stroll, especially with children as it features dedicated playgrounds.

    Location: Between the Old Town and the port at the eastern end of the Bay of Angels, Nice, France

    Open: October–March: daily from 8.30 am to 6 pm. April–September: daily from 8.30 am to 8 pm


    Go shopping in Jean Médecin Avenue

    Shop and dine from dawn 'til dusk in the centre of Nice

    Stretching between the Place Massena (just north of the Old Town) and Nice train station, Jean Médecin Avenue is the liveliest shopping street in the centre of Nice. It’s almost 900-metre-long and features wide walkways and all types of shopping venues, from small boutiques to shopping malls to department stores to supermarkets. The selection includes brand names such as H&M, Marks & Spencer and Zara, to name a few. You also find many dining options here. Make sure you watch out for the tram when crossing the avenue.

    Location: In the centre of Nice, just north of the Old Town, France


    Take a stroll at Parc Phoenix

    Visit Nice's botanical garden and zoo

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    Parc Phoenix is a 7-ha botanical garden and zoo that also hosts Nice Asian Arts Museum and one bar/restaurant with an outdoor terrace, named Snack Coté Jardin. The park has one of the largest greenhouses in Europe, which contains 6 different tropical climates. In all, Parc Phoenix takes you through over 20 theme gardens and permits you to encounter many exotic animals, from kangaroo to caiman. A paradise for children, the park features a large kids’ play area. 

    Location: 405 Prom. des Anglais, 06200 Nice, France

    Open: April–September: daily from 9.30 am to 7.30 pm. October–March: daily from 9.30 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +33 (0)4 92 29 77 00


    photo by Daniel70mi Falciola (CC BY 2.0) modified


    End the day with a night cap in Nice Old Town

    Get to one of Nice Old Town's lively bars

    • Food
    • Nightlife

    Nice Old Town contains a stunning choice of lively bars, where you can have some fun after dinner. For live jazz, soul and reggae, head to Shapko Bar on Rue Rosseti. For a French-style pub atmosphere with an impressive choice of beers, try Les Distilleries Idéales on rue de la Prefecture. For an American diner style of venue, go to Wayne’s Bar, also on rue de la Prefecture. We could go on listing good options for a night cap in Nice Old Town for ages, there are so many! Once there, try to hop from one bar to another – it’s a good way to find the perfect joint for your taste.

    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveller

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